University Press Forum 2019

The Evolving University Press Publishing Model

While all press directors are acutely aware of what’s happening in the broader academic book publishing market, the realities of their respective operations nevertheless remain entwined with the scholarship goals of their institutions.

Jennifer Crewe, in her essay about Columbia University Press’s publishing strategy, describes it well: “University presses have one foot in the world of scholarship and its exciting discoveries and innovative ideas and one foot in the business world. Meeting the demands of the academy and achieving a healthy bottom line do not always coincide, however.”

This is the careful dance that many presses do: honoring their research-based missions while spinning off new imprints, taking advantage of new technology, and launching new series. In other words, adhering to the mission while managing the P&L. Either way—whether a press edges further into the “trade” market or devotes more of the spotlight on its relationship to the institution to which it belongs—many presses are finding innovative approaches to list development that simultaneously hedge against the vagaries of the publishing market; support, to an extent, the growing influence of open scholarship; and continue to attract a wider and more diverse interest in scholarly research.

That was the task at hand for the directors who contributed to this year’s University Press Forum—an annual roundtable of perspective on the state of this segment of scholarly publishing appearing here on this site, in the May issue of Choice and on Press directors were asked to provide some insight into how presses are developing a more diversified publishing strategy to continue building their institution’s scholarly influence while uncovering new audiences.

Explaining how they’ve done it so far are this year’s Forum contributors:

We hope you enjoy reading about how university presses continue to innovate through such a dynamic publishing era. —Bill Mickey